The brutal slaying of former mayor and attorney Melvin Roberts shocked York, and one year later, officials still are searching for a possible second suspect in his death.
Police found 79-year-old Roberts strangled to death outside his residence. Nearby, his girlfriend of 10 years, Julia Phillips, claimed she had been tied up and robbed.
Through Phillips' changing stories and other evidence, York Police and State Law Enforcement Division agents gathered, prosecutors built a case against Phillips and charged her with murder in May.
Phillips, who turns 67 today, has been living in Gaffney on house arrest and electronic monitoring since she posted $75,000 bond last summer.
Prosecutors have said they don't believe Phillips acted alone, but no other suspect has been identified publically or charged. Based on evidence found at the scene, then-solicitor on the case Kevin Brackett said in a court hearing that he believed someone assisted Phillips in the crime.
Police K-9 units tracked footprints into the woods behind Roberts' house.
Officials believed the footprints might have belonged to another person involved in the killing.
With a new police chief in York, a new solicitor's office prosecuting the case and a new SLED agent investigating, officials hope fresh eyes might help identify who else might have been involved.
York Police Chief Andy Robinson said his detectives still dedicate a couple of hours each week to following new leads.
"We don't want people to think we've forgotten this case," Robinson said. "We haven't. It's still an active investigation. We want to bring justice for Melvin Roberts and his family."
Roberts reportedly was leaving Phillips, who had been stealing from him, officials say. Roberts financially supported her, funding her consignment store in Gaffney, housed in a building she stood to inherit in his will.
Money is a possible motive for killing Roberts after he threatened to end the relationship and stopped bankrolling Phillips' business and covering her personal debts.
Prosecutors said she talked about having Roberts killed as early as two years before his Feb. 4, 2010, beating and death.
Roberts was struck at least two times in the head with a blunt object. While he was on the ground, a zip-tie was tightened around his neck.
Officials used data from Roberts' pacemaker to determine the time of the attack.
DNA evidence from the zip-tie that suffocated Roberts doesn't match that of Roberts or any of the 50 or so potential suspects officials tested it against, police say.
Phillips is under indictment in Cherokee County on allegations that she stole rent money from Roberts' realty company, but police said in court Roberts discovered Phillips was stealing from him in 2006 when he went to use a bank card and his account was empty.
At that time, the pair broke up, and she was written out of his will, where she stood to inherit "a good bit of money."
Trespass papers were served on her during that time. The couple reconciled, and Phillips was added back in the will.
Assistant Solicitor Kris Hodge of the 13th Circuit Solicitor's Office has been assigned to prosecute the case after Phillips' attorney asked Brackett to step aside because he knew Roberts well.
An official with the solicitor's office had no comment.
Police request that anyone with any information about the case call 803-684-4141.
Melvin Roberts slaying: A timeline
Feb. 4 - Prominent York attorney Melvin Roberts, 79, is found dead outside his residence. His girlfriend of 10 years, Julia Phillips, 66, tells police it was a robbery attempt. Through changing stories and gunshot residue on Phillips' clothing, police almost immediately identify her as a suspect.
May 18 - Phillips is arrested in Gaffney outside the store she ran in the building Roberts left her in his will. Police charge her with murder, and she is detained without bond.
June 7 - Phillips appears in court for a bond hearing. Prosecutors say a motive could be that Roberts was leaving her and it would be financially "catastrophic" for her.
June 10 - Judge Derham Cole, appointed to hear the case because of possible conflicts of interest among York County judges, signs an order granting Phillips $75,000 bond. That order requires home detention with electronic monitoring at 701 Overbrook Drive in Gaffney. She leaves York County jail, only to be taken to Gaffney to face charges.
June 13 - After another bond hearing, Phillips is released from jail in Gaffney on $5,000 bond related to a breach of trust charge alleging she stole $2,000 in rent money from Roberts Realty.
June 14 - The body of Phillips' late husband, Bryant Phillips, is exhumed after his family asked for an investigation into his 1999 death. Results from those tests have not been released.
Aug. 2 - A probate court judge upholds a ruling to remove Phillips from the Overbrook Drive home. A lawsuit filed in June by Phillips' late husband's daughters claimed she shouldn't be allowed to stay in the house their father's will allows Phillips to stay in until she remarries. That ruling is being appealed.
Aug. 18 - Phillips has an attorney appear on her behalf for a preliminary hearing on charges related to theft from Roberts Realty. Roberts' two sons, David and Ronnie Roberts, release a statement that "Julia's" boutique "no longer exists." They dissolve the company that court records show was formed by their father and managed by Phillips.
Oct. 14 - Phillips is indicted on one count of breach of trust related to the theft of $2,000 in rent money.
Oct. 29 - Solicitor Kevin Brackett of the 16th Circuit hands the case off to the 13th Circuit Solicitor's Office in Greenville to prosecute after Phillips' attorney requests Brackett's removal from the case because Brackett knew Roberts well.
Dec. 10 - Judge Cole finds probable cause for the murder case to proceed to a grand jury for possible indictment.